According to the National Journal, House Republicans, under the leadership of John Boehner, are drafting a plan to hold the debt ceiling hostage, and their ransom demand will be to enact the Paul Ryan Path to Poverty budget. Because everything old is new. Second verse same as the first.
House Speaker John Boehner is now working with several leading conservatives–including Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin–to draft the options menu.
It is based on what’s known as the Ryan budget, according to Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a far-right spending plan passed by the House that’s been written off by Democrats as nothing more than a political document that decimates support for the poor and hurts the middle class. And it will outline what Obama will have to agree to for whatever length extension he wants.
For a long-term deal, one that gives Treasury borrowing authority for three and a half years, Obama would have to agree to premium support. The plan to privatize Medicare, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Ryan budget, is the holy grail for conservatives who say major deficit-reduction can only be achieved by making this type of cut to mandatory spending. “If the president wants to go big, there’s a big idea,” said Scalise.
For a medium-sized increase in the debt limit, Republicans want Obama to agree to cut spending in the SNAP food-stamp program, block-grant Medicaid, or tinker with chained CPI.
For a smaller increase, there is talk of means-testing Social Security, for example, or ending certain agricultural subsidies.
Implement the horrible policy proposals we ran on in 2012 or else!
What’s mystifying to me is the idea that this is a winning message to springboard into the 2014 campaign on. More cuts to food stamps, ending Medicare as we know it, and the block-granting of Medicaid. Vote for us!
I don’t believe the Republicans will emerge from this any more successful than their last attempt to hold the debt ceiling hostage which, as you may recall, ended with them more or less throwing in the towel entirely. And the stakes are higher now, because while they will be holding the debt ceiling hostage on one hand, they will also be holding immigration reform hostage on the other, demanding that we remove the path to citizenship and build an electrified fence with an alligator-filled moat on our southern border.
And did I mention that the House still hasn’t passed a farm bill?
House Republicans will be defying the will of the people on all fronts this Fall.